Today Amy is taking us to the beach with Tucker and Angel from the All That Heaven Will Allow series. The first book, All The Rules of Heaven, comes out digitally in November and on February 2, 2021 in print.
At the Beach with Tucker
Tucker had been back from the hospital for about a week and a half when Josh came knocking on his back door in the morning. September shadows were getting long, but the Foresthill was still hot. If Daisy Place hadn’t been haunted as fuck and cold as a meat locker, he would have been suffering in the heat.
“Come in,” he said, gesturing into the kitchen. It was funny how the narrow kitchen, with all the appliances on one side and the table on the other, by the window, looked so incredibly homey. The rest of the place was as creepy as a cemetary–creepier, actually, because houses weren’t supposed to be haunted–but the only souls haunting the kitchen were Tucker and Angel, and he wasn’t sure if Angel was visible.
“You look like a vampire,” Josh announced boldly. “Come swimming with us.”
Tucker’s eyes widened, and he glanced at Angel, who frowned. Angel was wearing the form of the auburn haired young roughneck, this morning, and it was one of Tucker’s favorites, but he had the feeling Angel was hanging on to it for Tucker’s attachment and nothing more. Oddly enough he was sort of jonesing for the pretty, blowsy blond who had trouble staying in her sundress–go figure. It was a mood.
“Swimming?” Tucker said into the silence. “Isn’t the lake, uh–”
“Cold enough to shrivel a pirate’s brass balls?”Josh held out his hand and gave it a maybe proposition. “Once you get in and then out to the middle, where the sun’s been on it for a while, the water’s almost balmy.”
Tucker snickered. “So, you want me to come with you and the family to freeze my balls off. And leave Angel here all alone?”
“Go,” Angel said, and just like that, she was a she.
Tucker blinked and looked at her–sure enough, blond curly hair, big, guileless blue eyes, and a charming, harried smile. God, she was as cute in this form as he had been as the roughneck with razor stubble.
“What are you going to do when I’m gone?” he asked, worried. Angel hated it when people left. He’d spent years getting left by anyone who had come into the house, including Tucker’s Aunt Ruth, who had passed away.
“Me and Squishbeans will find something to do.” Again that charming smile.
“What?” Josh asked sharply. “What’s Angel saying? If he wants to keep you in on one of the nicest days of the year, you can tell him to piss off!” Josh could really only see Angel when shit was getting real. Right now, when there was birdsong and sunshine outside, Angel was as invisible as she’d been before Tucker had arrived. “The kids are dying to see you,” Josh cajoled. His voice dropped a little. “They haven’t seen you since… you know. The day that thing happened at the cemetery.”
Tucker grimaced. God, that had been terrifying. And he’d been beaten to hell, and the Greenaway children probably remembered him covered in blood and tears and barely able to stand.
That’s what decided him.
A day at the beach? If Angel was all for letting him out of the house, how could he say no?
The water at Lake Sugarpine was actually colder than promised, but Josh’s wife, Rae, had put together a rather spectacular picnic lunch, and they’d rented a campground, even though they planned to leave in the evening. There would be a campfire first, and marshmallows and hot dogs, and a cool breeze off the lake–relief from the heat of the day, which persisted in the dusty, sun-drenched Sierra Nevada, in spite of the fact that it was September.
But first Tucker played with the Greenaway children, who were as psychic as he was most days.
Not today, though. Today, they were just kids, and they were rotten ones at that. They threw water toys unmercifully, until their mother made Tucker pull his T-shirt up and show his still-healing bruises.
“Leave the poor man alone!” she scolded, and the kids wandered off to another part of the lake to beat the hell out of each other instead. Tucker took the opportunity to swim, out in the sun like Josh had suggested, and Josh was a little right. The water did warm on the surface, although the blackness underneath Tucker’s feet was a little disconcerting. Still, it felt good to stretch out his body until he was in the center of the peaceful lake, surrounded by tree-lined shore, looking into the azure of the sky.
It was a balm to the fear and violence that he’d survived nearly two weeks ago, and he couldn’t deny it.
And if he closed his eyes, he could almost feel… almost smell citrus and lavender, almost hear–
His eyes flew open and Angel–wearing the young roughneck–was floating right above him.
“Augh!” he cried out.
“It worked!” Angel crowed, adjusting his aura mid-air so he was hovering with his feet above the water, and not parallel to the lake, looking into Tucker’s eyes.
“You came to the lake?” Tucker demanded, trying to keep himself from flailing and drowning just from sheer shock.
“I wanted to see if I could find you!” Angel said, still triumphant. “Since…” Even hovering, Tucker could see the flush that washed his features, when, a month and a half ago, Angel would have sworn he wasn’t that human. “Since we got closer, I’ve been able tos ense you. To move to where you are inside the house. I wanted to see if I could do that nearby. I mean, the lake is less than ten miles away–it worked! Right? It worked!”
Tucker let out a tired laugh and realized it was time to swim back before his healing body failed him. “Yeah, Angel,” he said. “I worked. Are you going to come back with me and sit at the campfire?”
Angel nodded happily. “Oh, Tucker. I would like that very much. But first,” he said soberly, “we must get you back to shore. If your lips are this blue, I hate to think how cold your balls are.”
Tucker barely stopped himself from snorting water. “We should maybe not mention that idea to Josh,” he said, knowing that being the father of four children, one of them moved out of the house as a young adult, would probably have inured the guy to pretty much anything.
But still, Josh and his wife were good friends–and hell bent on becoming his family. He really, really, really didn’t feel like telling his surrogate big brother and big sister anything about his balls.
Meet Amy Lane!
Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.
If you haven’t read Amy Lane before, here’s what you’ve been missing:
Crafting Category Romance: The Art of Fiction Haiku
Shortbread and Shadows
Shades of Henry (The Flophouse #1)
Bonfires (Bonfires #1)
Beneath the Stain (Beneath the Stain #1)
Familiar Demon (Familiar Demon #1)
Country Mouse (Country Mouse #1)
Fish Out of Water (Fish Out of Water #1)
Winter Ball (Winter Ball #1)
Vulnerable (Little Goddess #1)
The Green’s Hill Werewolves: Volume I and Volume II
Don’t miss your chance to meet over 40 fabulous urban fantasy, paranormal, and romance authors at Coastal Magic next February! This super casual book-lover weekend happens on Daytona Beach, and gives everyone the chance to hang out with fellow readers and amazing storytellers.
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